Foodie Travels: Allen & Son Barbeque, Chapel Hill, N.C.

Allen & Son barbeque

Allen & Son Barbeque serves one of the best Southern meals you’ll find anywhere. We won’t back down from that statement at any cost. In a state divided by preferences over barbecue styles, Allen & Son cooks up some of the best pig we’ve eaten anywhere. The sides are also fresh. The tea is sweet and plentiful. And you can’t beat the homemade desserts, especially the pies. Oh, my, how we love the pies. As our waitress told us, “if a pie looks perfect it’s not homemade.” Well, it may not have looked perfectly symmetrical on every side, but it sure tasted perfect!

Allen & Son Blueberry Pie

This legendary eatery on the north side of Chapel Hill, on the left if you’re headed from Interstate 40 toward Hillsborough, greets you with checkered tablecloths and a simple dining room. When we see checkered tablecloths, we know we’re usually in an old-fashioned joint that focuses most of all on its food and service. And that’s just what we got at Allen & Son. We’d heard great things, and the place downright delivered at every turn. That started with sweet tea that was so dark we knew it had been steeped a long time, just how we like it, with plenty of sweetness, and a jug for refills just for our table.

Allen & Son tea

Of course we sampled the pork barbeque, as Allen & Son spells it, and it was chopped up in nice big chunks, meaty, seasoned to a perfect vinegary flavor and containing wonderful little pieces of crispy brown skin throughout. Our plate came with coleslaw, delicious hushpuppies and a soft, yeast roll perfect for cradling a few bites of pork.

We also sampled a cheeseburger, and we were blown away by it, so much that we dare say the Allen & Son burger is one of the top five we’ve had anywhere in the South! And we eat a lot of cheeseburgers. The meat was plentiful and clearly hand-pattied, something we expect of an all-time great burger. The cheese was melty. The bun was soft and big enough for the sandwich. And the toppings of chili, mustard and onions blew our tastebud doors right off! Pretty darn near close to burger perfection, that Allen & Son cheeseburger.

Allen & Son Cheeseburger

After our main course, we knew we were going to enjoy some pie. We just didn’t know how much. We ordered one piece of chocolate and one piece of blueberry, both with a scoop of homemade ice cream. There’s no doubt the ice cream was homemade, as it contained the little icy shavings characteristic of home-churned ice cream. The berries were fresh and flavorful. And the chocolate was rich and decadent. We savored every bite until it was all gone.

Allen & Son Chocolate Pie

Our service was fast at Allen & Son, and our waitress was quick to make suggestions to better our meal and our experience. We’ll be back here every time we visit Chapel Hill or pass by on the way east or west on I-40. Chapel Hill is a food town, full of amazing places to get a great meal, but Allen & Son just might be our favorite foodie stop of all. Don’t dare miss it if you’re anywhere nearby! It’s the definition of a #FoodieScore.

Allen & Son BBQ

Allen & Son Barbeque, 6203 Millhouse Road, Chapel Hill, N.C.

Easy Blueberry Lattice Pie

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Unlike most food blogs, we like to get down to the recipe asap. So here it is, with our comments below. 🙂

Ingredients:

  • Two prepared roll-out frozen pie crusts
  • 4 cups of blueberries (fresh or canned)
  • 3 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • A dash of ground cinnamon
  • 1 egg, beaten in a cup with 1 tablespoon water

Instructions:

  1. Spray or butter a pie pan. Lay and shape one roll-out pie shell into the pan. Take the other crust and cut it into strips for later.
  2. Preheat oven to 400.
  3. In a large bowl, stir together the milk and flour, then brown sugar and cinnamon. Add blueberries (if canned, be sure to drain completely) and stir. Pour into bottom crust.
  4. Take the strips of dough and weave them into a lattice top on top of the pie. Pinch the edges to seal them together. Brush the crust lightly all over with the egg mixture and sprinkle it with brown sugar.
  5. Put the pie on a baking sheet on the bottom rack of the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 375 and move pie to top rack. Cover the rim of the pie crust with foil to make sure it doesn’t get burnt. Continue to bake at 375 until crust is golden and the filling is bubbling. (This takes about 20 minutes.)
  6. Let the pie cool to set and thicken before serving, so the pieces will come out whole.
  7. Serve warm with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Molly’s take: I adapted this recipe from the original found on http://shewearsmanyhats.com/easy-blueberry-pie-recipe/. At first, it was way more complicated than I wanted for an easy pie. After making the pie, I realized it could be a lot simpler. The original recipe says instead of immediately baking the pie, you can also freeze it for up to two months in plastic wrap and a large plastic Ziplock freezer bag. I haven’t tried this, but it could be good to have on hand! All in all, the pie is delicious and my blueberry-loving husband couldn’t stop eating it. 🙂 Out of all the pies I’ve made, it was one of the easiest, even with the lattice on top.

Matthew’s take: A basic blueberry pie is one of my favorite desserts. It walks the line between decadent dessert you can top with ice cream and dessert that can pass for a breakfast option. This blueberry pie recipe is as good as any I’ve had, and we made it with canned berries. Making it with fresh berries in season would put the pie over the top. The lattice crust was a very nice touch, both for taste and for presentation. This is one of those recipes that could be replicated with other berries. If you like berry pies like I do, this one gets an A+ for presentation and an A for taste.